Tuesday 26 September 2017

Jobless get just 'five minutes' of advice on careers

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

UNEMPLOYED young people are getting "as little as five minutes" of help on how to find a job from career advisers due to a shortage of staff.

There is only one social welfare case officer for every 800 people on the dole.

The National Youth Council (NYC) highlighted the problem at a seminar in Dublin on youth unemployment, organised by Labour MEP Emer Costello and attended by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

NYC deputy director James Doorley said young people were frustrated by the lack of time during their meetings with their case officers.

During one-to-one meetings case officers are supposed to discuss the job and training options and draw up a personal development plan. Follow-up meetings are also supposed to take place.

But Mr Doorley said that the country had only half the number of case officers that Nordic countries have.

"One caseworker dealing with 800 jobseekers is way too many," he said. His criticisms were echoed in an OECD report this week that warned that the ratio of one case officer to 800 jobseekers was "high by international standards".

PROBLEM

The Department of Social Protection said the dramatic increase in the number of people out of work had increased the caseload for its 350 case workers and 150 local employment service workers.

It said it would redeploy 300 extra staff by the end of the year, hiring in private companies and profiling all jobseekers.

"Profiling allows us to identify those jobseekers most in need of support and to allocate staff and time to those people," it said in a statement.

Mr Gilmore insisted there was a "substantial pot of European money" which would be available next year to tackle the high rate of youth unemployment here.

He said that due to the scale of the problem, the State would be one of the main EU countries able to tap into the €8bn youth unemployment guarantee being rolled out in 2014.

However, he acknowledged that the most important measure was to create jobs in the economy.

"There were 250,000 jobs lost over the previous three years before we entered office but 30,000 jobs have been created in the past year," he said.

Ireland has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the EU, with 30.4pc of 15- to 24-year-olds out of work compared to an average of 22.9pc across the EU.

Irish Independent

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